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The GMAT Test: A Bogeyman??

The GMAT has a knack of unnerving even the most robust test taker. Much like a sorcerer, the test is adept at playing tricks with rules and words and in the process of conjuring up the image of scare, of creating a bogeyman who either deters test takers from venturing anywhere near the test or at least puts the jitters up even the bravest of hearts!!!

What are some of these tricks the test plays to perfection?

1. The GMAT relishes being abstruse as far as the content of its passages goes. As a result, it is not uncommon to hear students complain that they just don’t like (ugh!) biology, and simply hate literature (ouch!). What is worse is that if the GMAT should so much as even get a hint of how the student feels by his lackluster performance with answering the passage questions, the GMAT , in all probability, will offer the test taker dollops of more such stuff and kill whatever little chance there is of his surviving the passages. The only counter to all this trickery is more trickery; as soon as you start preparing for the test, incorporate passage reading as a daily routine and be quick to identify topics you are averse to reading. Then go all out to kill the poison with poison!! Brace yourself up and make it a point to take on as many passages on what you dislike. Once you have solved a pile of them you will begin to see a familiar pattern and sense in them that will allow you to anticipate questions and even locate answers easily.

2. In the Sentence Correction, the GMAT works by the trick of complicating structures. It is very rare that the test will present a sentence that can be put right by one rule, or that has only one grammatical slip. So, while you might have perfected parallelism and the sense-defying modifiers, you might have fallen short of expected preparation by missing out on Idioms. Such preparation will take you through the elimination step and help you zero down on two choices but may not pull you clean through if you do not know whether it is “aid to heal” or “aid in healing.” So when you prepare for the test, prepare for it. Don’t cut corners; don’t avoid the sweat and toil that the preparation demands; and please don’t become the victim of rumor and quacks!!!! Draw up a list of the error groups and look beyond the obvious. Find out why sometimes we need to use the reporting conjunction (that) twice and why sometimes only once; why we can use the verb in third form parallel to a verb in ing form and still observe parallelism; what “in that” means and a lot more.

3. In the Critical Reasoning questions, the GMAT challenges the test taker by using intricate language. Simple facts and equally simple situations are woven into seemingly difficult material. As a result the test taker is often pushed against a wall and has to read the content two or three times to comprehend clearly. This is a time consuming activity and not always fruitful. Because the content of the text and the question based on it are both a mosaic of ideas, test takers find themselves working against time and intelligent thinking. As a result, it is not uncommon for a test taker to miss the point and to stray away from it. For CR practice, I reiterate what I have often propounded as the most effective strategy –back breaking practice. Don’t run amuck in your search for material but at the same time don’t fall short of practicing good stuff. The more you expose yourself to the vocabulary and the language structures that the GMAT has up its sleeve, the better you will be at unravelling the mysteries of this test.

All said and done, no matter how skilled the GMAT is at showing tricks, a good test taker can outwit the test and come out a winner! So get down to the GMAT preparation earnestly and enjoy the challenge.